PSG confirmed the information on Monday. The capital club and Lionel Messi will travel to Riyadh on January 19 to face a selection of the best players from Saudi clubs Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr, where Cristiano Ronaldo was recently transferred. The Parisians will first go to Doha on January 17, as they have been accustomed to doing for training courses or tours since the club was taken over in 2011 by the sovereign fund Qatar Sports Investment (QSI).
But beyond the financial aspect of the operation, which will involve the sponsors of PSG, the trip will be the opportunity to organize the reunion, on the ground, of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, historical rivals of world football since more than ten years. The Portuguese star has just left with a bang Manchester United to commit to Al-Nassr until 2025, where it is estimated that he will earn 200 million euros per year.
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His arrival is part of the desire of the authorities of Saudi Arabia to draw the spotlight on their championship, with a view, perhaps, to filing a joint candidacy with Greece and Egypt to organize the World Cup in 2030, while its Qatari neighbor has just hosted the 2022 World Cup. French coach Rudi Garcia, on the Al-Nassr bench, confirmed the holding of this match on Sunday. “It will be a mix between Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr. For development, to see PSG, to see the great Parisian players, it’s actually a good thing… The main thing is that it shows how keen Saudi Arabia is on sport, football“, he declared to The Team.
However, this trip poses a problem in terms of the calendar: PSG must face an amateur level formation – Reims Sainte-Anne (N3), Wasquehal (N2) or Pays de Cassel US (R1) – in the round of 16 of the Coupe de France on January 21 or 22, two or three days after the meeting in Riyadh.
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